How Do I Obtain My Fair Visitation Rights?

by Barbara Dalhover
(Clarksburg, WV, USA)

My boyfriend and his ex-girlfriend have 2 children together ages 10 and 6. They split up last November and my boyfriend moved out. He has tried repeatedly to talk to the children on the phone and occasionally she will allow it, but often times she won't. He has tried several times to get her to let him see his children and she refuses to let him see them.

She is a crack-addict and alcoholic and my boyfriend is very concerned about the safety and well-being of his children. We recently moved to WV and are waiting for background checks and drug tests to come back for our potential employment. His ex-girlfriend has a bad habit of not paying her rent and getting evicted and moving several times in a year.

My boyfriend has her current address, but we have heard from her dad that she is looking for a place to move and once she does, we won't know where her or the kids are. She changes her phone number all the time, so unless she contacts my boyfriend through email, we often don't even know the phone number for him to be able to try to call his children.

I talked to a caseworker in the Guernsey County welfare department and she said that she THINKS all my boyfriend has to do is call the courthouse in Stark county and find out what forms he needs to fill out to file for visitation rights and that he could get those forms from the library and fill them out and file them himself without needing an attorney. Is there any truth to that?

If so, can you tell me what forms we would need to get and if there is any way that we can call to have them faxed to us since we live in another state? As I said, at the moment, neither one of us are working, so we have no money for a lawyer, but my boyfriend would like to get an order of visitation before his ex moves again and then we don't know how to find her. We are living in Harrison County, WV and his ex lives in Stark County, OH and collects SSI for the kids. Thank you for your help with this matter.

Barbara Dalhover

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by: Child Support America Team Member

Hello Barbara,

You have two options in your situation. The first is to contact legal aid in your area and see if they can provide you with some free legal services. Your boyfriend can file the visitation paperwork himself, but it must be done THROUGH the courts and it will cost a filing fee. Visitation is court ordered before a judge. There is no other way around this. Does he have a court order through child support established?


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